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A whirlwind year of not only Shirley Q. Liquor videos but incisive coverage of the Netflix Qwikster debacle, how Kraft/Nabisco Foods told me that hydrogenated oil is "part of a nutritious diet," and the uncompromising Park of Shame web page.  

The multi-talented stylings of Ms. Shirley Q.Can't stop listening to Shirley Q.
Years after everyone else, I've found the guilty joys of listening to the banned-in-Boston Shirley Q. Liquor, a character created by comedian Chuck Nibbs, who has been roundly criticized for creating racist humor.  I may not be black, but I see nothing racist at all in the struggles of a 350-lb mother of 19 to balance the responsibilities of distributing hymnals for her church—"at the crack of noon"—find employment—"Every so often, the government reQUIRES me to act like I'm looking for a job to get recertificated and all"—or operate a microwave oven—"Honey, I heard some popping and banging, I thought it was a drive-by."  OK, Nibbs is white and performing in blackface.  OK, Nibbs seems to have been co-opted by the right wing.  Nevertheless, I think there's a little bit of Shirley Q. in all of us—"I feel like a slave at my own job!" I said to myself after they shipped me to West Roxbury—and I can't stop listening to her on my little mp3 player (I have her interspersed with some of my November tunes).  Explore the complex multi talents of Mizz Shirley Q. here.  "You tell your mother I axe her how she durrin."
posted November 14, 2011, 7:12 pm

Dear Mountain Room Parents 
Every now and then a New Yorker humor piece hits it out of the park, like this one.   
posted November 1, 2011, 8:02 am

Fig Newtons, crappified
While the whole grain is a step in the right direction, the new Fig Newtons coming out of the Kraft factory this year still are polluted by sugar, corn syrup, and high fructose corn syrup (the #3-, #4-, and #5-highest-percentage ingredients, respectively) and hydrogenated oil (#8). Syrupy sweet foods promote diabetes while hydrogenated fats clog blood vessels. Can't you do any better, large food company? Apparently not.  I e-mailed Nabisco, the division of the Kraft conglomerate responsible for the cookies, and they told me that "hydrogenated oils can be part of a nutritious diet."  Read about it  here
posted October 31, 2011, 8:31 pm

Netflix lays an egg
I still love Netflix, despite the now-famous Qwikster debacle.  Getting DVDs by mail is a wonderful improvement over going to a video store, but streaming, at least right now, still has its problems— fewer available titles, the need for uniformly super-high-speed Internet, and server overloading during peak times like Saturday nights.  Nevertheless, Netflix announced September 19, shortly after a poorly received September 1 price increase on its streaming customers, that it would move its DVD-by-mail segment onto a separate website called Qwikster, then reversed its decision a couple weeks later, and decided, thankfully, to keep its DVD-by-mail segment intact.  An avalanche of media scorn resulted from all this, including a Saturday Night Live skit here, and David Zax's excellent article here with adjectives like "erratic," "garbled," "sweeping," and "weird," detailing the passive-aggressive nature of CEO Reed Hastings's apology (the e-mail begins "I messed up" before announcing new consumer irritants), and noting that the Qwikster Twitter handle appears to belong to a stoner.   A furious commentator on Hacking Netflix suggested that customers unhappy with proposed Netflix changes be sent to the Afghanistan combat zone, while oft-cited Wedbush Morgan securities analyst Michael Pachter concluded that the company was going to sell its streaming service and would soon trade at $150.  (Pachter was wrong again: shortly after his September 22, 2011 announcement, Netflix sank from $128 to a low of $75, just as after his notorious comment of January, 2005 that the company was a "worthless piece of crap" its stock price steadily outperformed the market to grow from $11 in January, 2005 to $295 in July, 2011.)  My opinion?  Hastings should have begun  his e-mail apology like the cheap motel scene in the Strangers with Candy episode "A Burden's Burden," where Jerri pours a shot of Jagermeister, and, throwing a pair skimpy underwear across the bed, says, "I wanna 'pologize." 
posted October 26, 2011, 1:24 pm  

Park of shame
I like walking to work, it clears my mind to briskly march past grass and trees before spending all day listening to chatter.  I know that living in Dorchester does not entitle me to pristine surroundings.  But why do people have to throw so much trash in the park?  This spring when both Dorchester's so-called "Malibu" Beach Park?— McConnell Park?  Or is it Dorchester Shores?  The park seems to be constantly changing its name—and South Boston's Moakley Park became submerged in a tide of garbage, I took some pics with my cell phone to create the uncompromising "Park of Shame" page here.   
posted April 27, 2011, 7:45 am

Read my acerbic take on the dismal offering of the mid-90's pseudo-feminist sitcom "Cybill" here.  I also include links to watch on YouTube, at least for now, some of my favorite episodes—which are otherwise unavailable in American and not one of which is on the American "best of" DVD.

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